There are more cowboy sayings than “howdy” or “yee-haw!” If you are looking for funny cowboy sayings, check out these expressions that give advice about cowboy life, what not to do, and the value of a horse. And keep reading to find famous cowboy quotes from books and movies.
Cowboy Sayings That Give Advice
Ever since a man rode a horse, there has been cowboy wisdom. These witty Western sayings offer advice to greenhorns who are just starting in the cowboy life. However, even if you’ve never sat in a saddle, these metaphorical expressions are great to keep in mind for your everyday life.
Advice About Talking to People
Cowboys aren’t known for being big talkers. But when they do speak, their words tend to carry a lot of weight. Whether you’re atop a horse or talking to an office coworker, these droll cowboy phrases can help you conduct yourself appropriately.
- Generally, you ain't learnin' nothin’ when your mouth's a-jawin'.
- It's better to keep your mouth shut and look stupid than open it and prove it.
- There are two theories to arguin' with a woman. Neither one works.
- When you give a lesson in meanness to a critter or a person, don't be surprised if they learn their lesson.
Advice About Getting Into Trouble
Rough-and-tumble cowboys tend to get into trouble from time to time. But getting into trouble isn’t exclusive to cowboys! Think about these comical sayings the next time you’re about to make a bad decision.
- If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop digging.
- Just 'cause trouble comes visiting doesn't mean you have to offer it a place to sit down.
- Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back.
- Nature gave us all something to fall back on, and sooner or later we all land flat on it.
- Some cowboys have too much tumbleweed in their blood to settle down.
- Sometimes you get and sometimes you get got.
- The quickest way to double your money is to fold it over and put it back into your pocket.
- The only good reason to ride a bull is to meet a nurse.
- When you're throwin' your weight around, be ready to have it thrown around by somebody else.
- We all got pieces of crazy in us, some bigger pieces than others.
Other Cowboy Wisdom
Sometimes you just need a cool cowboy quote to get through a tough situation. These Western sayings might be the piece of advice you didn’t even know that you needed.
- Always drink upstream from the herd.
- An onion can make people cry; but, there's never been a vegetable that can make people laugh.
- Always take a good look at what you're about to eat. It's not so important to know what it is, but it's critical to know what it was.
- Any cowboy can carry a tune. The trouble comes when he tries to unload it.
- Don't worry about bitin' off more'n you can chew; your mouth is probably a whole lot bigger'n you think.
- If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there with ya.
- If it doesn't seem to be worth the effort it probably isn't.
Things a Cowboy Should Not Do
Here are some words to live by according to cowboys. Unlike the above examples, these sayings describe what cowboys should not do. Some are really good advice and all are funny cowboy sayings.
- Don't squat with your spurs on.
- Don't let your yearnings get ahead of your earnings.
- Don't dig for water under the outhouse.
- Don't go in if you don't know the way out.
- Don't mess with something that ain't bothering you.
- Never corner something meaner than you.
- Never drive black cattle in the dark.
- Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear or a fool from any direction.
- Never ask how stupid someone is 'cause they'll turn around and show you.
- Never ask a barber if you need a haircut.
- Never slap a man who's chewing tobacco.
Cowboy Sayings About Horses
What would a cowboy, or cowgirl, for that matter, be without his or her horse? Is it even possible to be a cowboy without a horse? Here are some funny sayings about horses.
- I took to the life of a cowboy like a horse takes to oats.
- If you climb in the saddle, be ready for the ride.
- If you get thrown from a horse, you have to get up and get back on, unless you landed on a cactus; then you have to roll around and scream in pain.
- If you haven’t fallen off a horse, then you haven’t been ridin’ long enough.
- The horse stopped with a jerk-- and the jerk fell off!
- There is no better place to heal a broken heart than on the back of a horse.
- There never was a horse that couldn't be rode; never was a cowboy who couldn't be throwed.
- Treat a woman like a racehorse, and she'll never be a nag.
- When in doubt, let your horse do the thinkin'.
- Speak your mind, but ride a fast horse.
Famous Cowboy Quotes
When you think of cowboys, who comes to mind? You might think of one of the many legendary characters played by John Wayne, or maybe the iconic Lone Ranger and his faithful horse Silver. Check out these quotes by famous fictional cowboys and Western writers to round out your cowboy sayings.
- “A cowboy is a man with guts and a horse.” – William James, Western writer
- "Every gun makes its own tune.” – Blondie, The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
- “The only healthy way to live life is to learn to like all the little everyday things – like a sip of good whiskey in the evening, a soft bed, a glass of buttermilk, or a feisty gentleman like myself.” – Gus McCrae, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
- "I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them." – J.B. Books, The Shootist
- “I’m your huckleberry.” Doc Holliday, Tombstone
- “Shootin’ from ambush is a bad habit. You may not live long enough to outgrow it.” – Hopalong Cassidy, Hopalong Cassidy: Lawless Legacy
- "Snakes like you usually die of their own poison." – Chris Morrell, ‘Neath the Arizona Skies
Regional Phrases and Expressions
Cowboys have a way of looking at things a little differently than the rest of us. Their wisdom is simpler and more down to Earth. If you take a trip out of the American West and head south, you’ll find some classic (and funny) Southern phrases to use in your everyday life.